Time and time again we've been told that 8 hours of sleep is what we need. If we don't get 8 hours of sleep we're DOOMED and we're racing towards death at a breakneck speed.
Turns out, 8 hours of night is a myth. How much sleep we need depends on our age, sometimes our gender, and what our body is asking for...
Found this out by listening to a brief sleep podcast on Headspace.
Headspace stuff is brilliant and a great tool I use to wind down sometimes. Highly recommend watching their "guide to meditation" and "Guide to sleep" on Netflix.
The younger we are, the more sleep we need this is why some babies and teenagers can sleep for hours on end and still be exhausted... then as we get older, we need less sleep to get through the day. It's all been proven through research.
Turns out, I needed to stop having a "magic number" of sleep needed in my mind, and instead just start listening to my body. When I need to sleep, I recognize it - and I am fortunate enough to be able to capitalize on the beauty and wonder of a nap. I realize that not everyone can take a nap, many people have jobs that are working sometimes 10-12 hours a day, or have children and families who are demanding of time when not at work.
We got so much sleep when we were little - that's why we always took naps. Remember?
Let me tell you that if you ever are in a chance to take a nap, DO IT. Naps can change your mindset for the rest of the day. If you find yourself in a situation where you have an extra 30-40 minutes where you could be taking a rest from work, a break between zooms, or even a lunch break where you know you're just going to be wasting time mindlessly on social media - do yourself a favor. Try a nap. Just once.
If you can sleep in your car, or on your couch, or even on a chair in a dark room - if you can make it happen comfortably, you may find that a nap can change your day. It always does for me. I end up waking up 20-30 minutes later from a quick snooze and find that I'm ready to take on the day with renewed vigor.
Why did we resist naps so much when we were little? Because now I'm an adult and I have NO RESERVATIONS about taking a quick nap - just to refresh myself and get back to business. Naps. I'm talking 20-45 minutes TOPS. Anything over 45 minutes, is SLEEP if you ask me. Below 45 minutes, is a nap - that's the sweet spot.
Again - I realize I have bizarre work hours and am up at 3:30am - so for me, I'm ready for a nap by noon. Not everyone has this type of schedule, but I know we've all had a time when we THOUGHT about taking a nap but didn't - because we thought we'd be more tired. I'm just here to tell you to DO IT next time. If you can listen to your body and give it a quick nap every once in a while, you may find that your overall quality of sleep will improve later at night when you're ready for BED. If you try this - and the nap doesn't work for you, no harm no foul.
Just remember. There's no shame in the nap game. Give it a try sometime and let me know how you feel.